The purpose of this report is to present an evaluation and application of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) for an organization in achieving its strategic goals and objectives. The report therefore, presents an evaluation of communication models and campaigns of Qantas Airlines for deeper understanding. Qantas is undergoing many in order to be more efficient and competitive in the market. The company is undertaking structural changes in the organization and is planning to target Asian market more aggressively (Yeshin, 2012). Therefore, in order to communicate new marketing strategy, to target new markets as well to motivate existing customers to utilize the services of the brand, Qantas has implemented integrated marketing communication model. IMC helps the organization to attain certain level of consistency in its communication and promotional campaigns and produce a synergistic effect.
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier airline of Australia. It is the largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations. The company was founded in the year 1920 and the company started its international operations in May 1935. The name Qantas come from the acronym of it original name “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”. Various subsidiary airlines also operate under QantasLink banner. Its subsidiary JetConnect provides services between Australia and New Zealand and JetStar Airways, which is a low cost airline operates in both international and domestic destinations (Qantas.com, 2016)
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)
IMC can be defined as strategic business process that helps marketers in planning, developing, executing and evaluating brand communication campaigns over time with targeted audiences. Promotion is one of the important elements of marketing mix for any organization. It helps in creating awareness about the brand and enhancing goodwill in the market. Further, the promotion element of marketing has its own mix of communication tools. Marketers employ different combinations of these communication tools as per the requirements of communication objectives. Therefore, the role of IMC in essence is to create a conscious link between all the forms of communication and messages employed by an organization. IMC aims integrating all the promotional tools to create a synergistic effect (Thorson & Moore, 2013).
IMC model – Qantas Airlines
IMC helps Qantas to promote their brand among the end users and to outshine competitors to survive in the market in the long-run. Through marketing communication model Qantas airlines aims at creating awareness about different assortment of products and services it provides. It also helps in targeting customers and creating a favorable impression of the brand in the market. Thereby, integrated marketing communication helps in creating market differentiation and provides competitive advantage (Shimp & Andrews, 2012).
In today’s world of intense competitive rivalry, it is important to develop holistic marketing communication programs in order to develop unique positioning of the brand and distinguish from competitors. Qantas airline has implemented IMC model and has been greatly benefitted by the operational efficiencies and harmonization of various process it provides to achieve common end goals (Lovelock & Patterson, 2015). It has also enabled the company to formulate relevant and real time customer campaigns. In this regard, Qantas has successfully employed all elements of its marketing mix to achieve desired marketing objectives. The integration of all the elements of marketing mix has helped the company to streamline its marketing communication needs. However, before adopting integrated marketing communication, it is important to understand the objectives of communication programs and develop a strategic link between all the aspects of marketing tools employed by the company (Percy, 2014).
Qantas Airlines is the biggest airline company in Australia and enjoys greater dominance in the domestic market. However, with the deregulation of Airline industry, globalization and emergence of many Airline industries has slowed down organizational growth. Therefore, in order to stay in the competition, Qantas is planning to focus more on domestic and Asian markets as economies of these countries are booming and provides infinite opportunities to grow (Mihart, 2012).
The main market for Qantas Airlines consists of domestic and international passengers. The domestic airline market of Australia is oligopolistic in nature with Qantas exercising the dominant position. However, with the economic meltdown people are preferring low cost service providers and the emergence of many such low cost airline operators have adversely affected the market of Qantas Airlines. In addition, among the international market, company has traditionally focused on American and European markets, but the scope of growth in these markets are also declining. Therefore, in order to effectively tackle these issues, Qantas has shifted its focus to domestic and Asian markets (Kim et al., 2016).
Segmentation Targeting and Positioning (STP)
STP models consist of three steps that helps to identify customers and develop better marketing communication plan. STP stands for –
- Segmenting market
- Targeting best customer segment
- Positioning products and services in the targeted segment
These stages are discussed in detail in context to Qantas Airlines –
The products and services provided by the organization and the brand solicits different meaning to different people, therefore, it is important to divide the market into some predetermined categories with some common needs or characteristics. The market segment for Qantas Airlines can be done as –
Demographic: It includes dividing market on the basis of personal characteristics of the customers such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, occupation and the like. The major demographic customer group includes business executives, teenagers, tourists. Further, the biggest age group of customers includes people between the ages of 21 to 45.
Geographic: The market of Qantas can be divided into domestic and international markets (Middleton, 2012).
Targeting implies selection of most attractive customer group from the different segment of customers. Therefore, it is important to understand various factors such as profitability of selecting the a particular segment, growth opportunities and long term sustainability of the segment selected. In this context, the most profitable customer segment includes people between the age group 21 to 45. This customer group consists of professionals who are economically self-reliant and take their own decisions.
In this step, marketers identify and develop strategies to position company’s products and services to the targeted customers in most effective manner. Positioning is pre marketing activity and helps the company to develop and analyse the effectiveness of the marketing plan developed by the company. Positioning employs comprehensive application of all the element of marketing mix to develop integrated marketing communication model (Middleton, 2012).
Marketing mix of Qantas Airlines
Product: Qantas provides air travel solutions to the he customers in almost all corners of the world. However, with increasing competition in the domestic as well in the international market, Qantas pays more importance to its product development. The products of Qantas include passenger accommodation in their airlines and freight containers. Qantas provides premium travelling solutions to its customers. The company offers a range of travelling arrangements to its customers such as first class, international business class, international economy and premium economy. The company provides various in-flight services like meals and other amenities. Whereas, its subsidiary JetStar, provides low cost travelling solutions to its customers (Chitty et al., 2012).
The company utilizes its products for marketing communication as well. With sophisticated and advanced fleet carriers. It provides customers with best connecting flights in the world. In addition, it also conducts most popular frequent flyer program in the world.
Price: Price is another marketing mix element that helps the company to strengthen their integrated marketing communication needs. Qantas employs cost plus margin method of pricing. The flagship air carrier Qantas Airways targets primarily the international customers and charges premium prices for the state of art carriers and top quality services that it provides to its customers. However, its low cost aircraft carrier JetStar employs penetrative pricing. Moreover, Qantas has employed effective pricing that provides value for money to the customers. The fair refunding policy and special discounts for loyal customers helps the company to meet its marketing communication objectives (Duncan & Caywood, 2013).
Place: Qantas has employed place element of marketing mix to achieve its marketing mix quite intelligently. Direct sales are undertaken from Qantas counters at the airports. The airline is well connected on all the prominent international routes and provides better service delivery to the customers (Batra & Keller, 2016).
Promotion: Promotion is the most crucial element in establishing integrated communication model. Qantas employs various means for its marketing communication needs with considerable consistency in the message content. Some of the important communication tools that has been employed are –
Advertising: Qantas Airlines exploits various mediums for advertising purposes. Promotional campaigns are run on televisions and radio channels. The reach of these communication medium are the most widely spread communication mediums and targets all the prospective customers. Moreover, the company also advertises through billboards, broachers, business and travel magazines. It helps the company to communicate their message directly to the prospective customers.
Direct promotion: Qantas airline has integrated marketing management team sends more than 250 campaigns annually to customers registered under frequent flyer program. In addition, the company also sends more than 50,000 personalized newsletters to its customers per month. Qantas has invested in Teradata’s integrated marketing management platform to automate the process and develop better campaigns for individual customers based on their previous flying history (Kotler et al., 2015).
Sales promotion: Qantas employs various sales promotion techniques for promoting the brand and connecting with the customers. Qantas have effectively employed event sponsorship program as part of its integrated marketing communication program. (Armstrong et al., 2014). It is the main sponsor of Qantas Wallabies, the Australian national Rugby Union team. In addition, the company also sponsors the Socceroos, Australia’s national association football team. Qantas was also one of the main sponsors for the Formula One Grand Prix. Qantas has also signed a four-year deal with Australian cricket’s governing body – Cricket Australia, to be the official carrier of Australia’s national cricket team (Freed, 2015).
In order to manage the growing complexity of customer relationships, Qantas have implemented a customer management system to enhance communication and marketing performance within the organization. This has helped the company to decrease process and campaign turnaround time. Integrated marketing communication model has helped the company to improve customer service delivery; hence improved customer experience with the brand. The company has moved on from ad-hoc initiatives to more holistic and repeatable marketing operations. Qantas Airlines have been able to integrate its internal customer management program with external marketing activities and campaigns (Thorson & Moore, 2013).
Since its inception, Qantas Airlines has been a successful venture and the company has employed effective marketing communication strategies to attract customers and promote the brand. Innovation and product development are the key factors that help the organization to stay head of competitors. Although Qantas is largest airlines in Australia, it is facing stiff competition within the industry, both at domestic and international market. Therefore, in order to stay competitive in the market in the long run, Qantas need to enhance its product and service delivery. Qantas is required to invest more on acquiring wide bodied aircrafts for its international destination as it provides more comfort and privacy to the customers. In addition, the meals provided in flight need to add more dining options as per the individual demands of international customers.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the current communication model of Qantas Airlines is quite effective and serves it purpose. The company has adopted integrated marketing communication model for its promotion and all the business related activities are aligned in such a manner to achieve a common objective. The company has effectively identified its target market i.e. domestic and Asian markets for its business development. The marketing mix as employed by the company focuses on the common objective of enhancing organizational performance. A link between all the elements of marketing mix has been established that helps the organization to achieve its organizational goals and objectives. However, Qantas need to focus more on its product development and provide personalized services to benefit from the communication model that it has developed.
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